Alestorm sets sail with eFestivals

Hard Rock Hell interview

published: Mon 15th Dec 2008

Alestorm (interview

Friday 5th to Sunday 7th December 2008
Pontins Holiday Village, Prestatyn Sands, North Wales, LL19 7LA, Wales MAP
on-site accommodation has SOLD OUT. £100 for weekend tickets no accommodation
last updated: Wed 26th Nov 2008

What could possibly be more rock ‘n’ roll than sitting backstage at a Pontins in Wales shooting the shit with a Heavy Metal pirate? Why, sitting backstage at a Pontins in Wales shooting the shit with a Heavy Metal Pirate in a kiddie’s adventure playground surrounded by bands pissing about on tricycles, naturally.

Alestorm (interview)

Due on stage in a matter of hours at the second-ever Hard Rock Hell, Alestorm bassist Dani Evans was happy to take a few minutes out of his hectic and very Metal schedule to reflect on a year which has seen his band grow from pie-in-the-sky side project to pretenders to Turisas’ Battle Metal crown. Raise your mast...

Alestorm (interview

Hi Dani! How are you finding Hard Rock Hell, it’s a bit of different...

Yeah, unique is probably the word I would use. We’re currently sitting in a kids’ area climbing thing, it’s great!

What do you think it is about Pontins Holiday Camp that seems to suit heavy metal so much?.

I think it’s the fun element of it to be honest, it’s just the utter piss-take element. I mean most people that I know go to festivals to get boozed and see a couple of bands... but the bands aren’t really the main thing at the festivals – and they shouldn’t be. I used to go to festivals over the last couple of years and have a lot of fun, but I think this takes it to a whole new fucking level. I mean Pontins is literally a resort. For kids. And then you’ve got a couple of thousand metal heads turning up and descending on Wales...

It is a bit chaotic. Were you ever taken to a holiday camp as a kid?

I’m a stern believer in never going to resorts, it was my mother that beat that into me! Really the only places I go are Canada, Switzerland and Austria so I can relax and sit in a mountain for a week and booze myself to death!

You’ve had one hell of a year, including the departure of guitarist and founding member Gavin Harper. What happened there?

Yeah, Gavin leaving was a sore point, but the guy had moved to Finland and so forth, so he wasn’t happy playing the music and he wasn’t happy playing in the band and that affected the performance. He wanted to leave, so he left, and we don’t hold any grudges against him for it. He’s still a part of the band and he’ll never not be, but he wasn’t happy, and because we were together so much we started fighting. There’s no hatred between us and Gavin, he’s doing well for himself in Finland and we’re happy for him.

What’s he up to at the moment then?

Currently I think he’s doing a melodeath project. He’s still in contact with our recording engineer so we know he’s doing well, but I haven’t spoken to him since he left.

Was it difficult making the decision to carry on without him?

It wasn’t difficult to make the decision to keep the band going, but it was difficult to actually keep the band going. The guitarist who replaced him, Tim, came in time for the European tour, and we’ve got another Euro tour coming up with Grave Digger.

Sounds sweet! That’s not coming our way though is it?

It’s isn’t no, but we’ve got a UK tour planned for the end of April.

Right around the time of your Hammerfest appearance then!
Aye, we start the tour at Hammerfest. The tour will be with TYR and Heidevolk.

Bitchin’. What happened with drummer Ian Wilson? He left and now he’s back again.

Yes indeed, half-man half-plumber! When Wilson quit we were earning no money and we were spending a lot and he has a house to pay for, so he went back to his apprenticeship as a plumber and was doing all that. The guy we then got in, Alex, was a great drummer, but it was too much of a barrier having him in the band – having a German in the band was hard work! *laughs* So Gavin asked Wilson to come back, and Wilson was like “Yeah, I’ll do that!” So now he’s back and he’s quit his apprenticeship and he’s thrown himself head-first into this, which is fantastic.

Another recent event is that you released the ‘Leviathan’ EP which featured, amongst other things, a cover of Eurovision favourite ‘Wolves of the Sea’. Explain yourselves.

It’s actually like the best song ever. We were just like “Yeah, why not?” It’s a piss-take pirate song, Christopher [Bowes, keyboards/vocals] put an arrangement to it, and it really worked. So we put it on the EP and we’ve been playing it. Last night at Birmingham people were asking for it, and we’re hopefully playing it tonight, although our set time’s been cut because of Korpiklaani. They want 55 minutes and we wanted 50, but we couldn’t do it, so we had to cut one song out, and it might be ‘Wolves of the Sea’. We’re hoping to play it, so we’re gonna play a couple of songs really fast – ‘Set Sail and Conquer’ at 700bpm!

That’d be a sight. You mentioned the Grave Digger tour, what else have you got planned for 2009?

Very, very busy. January through February will be the EU tour, February through March will be the US tour...

The US?

Yeah with TYR, we’ve got a month over there so that’s gonna be amazing. It’ll be the first time we’ve ever taken the band over there, and we’ve been put as a headliner at some of the shows! Even though we’re not playing as headliners we’ve been advertised as such by some venues. We’ve also got that UK tour planned after some time off in March, with a couple of festival dates in May and a big load of festival dates in June and August, and then a massive tour at the end of next year, but that’s obviously still in the planning stages.

Any chance we might catch you at Download next year? It’s pretty much the only festival you won’t have played by then.

I can almost guarantee that we won’t be there. I’ve already been in contact with the Download promoters and they don’t seem that interested. Which was quite a shock for us seeing as Turisas are popular and have been booked two years in a row. We do want to play Download, but they just didn’t seem very interested when we put it to them. They are the biggest British festival – it’s Donington, and every band in the world wants to play Donington, and if they don’t they shouldn’t be playing music.

Damn right. The festive season is upon us, what do you have planned?

I’m coming home for Christmas, although I’m staying in Sweden until then. But yeah, just spend it with the family, eat some crazy food and get some crazy presents, and just take time off.

When eFestivals last went to an Alestorm gig we were often mistaken for Christopher. Would he mind if that was used for personal gain should it happen today?

He’s engaged, so I don’t think he’d give a shit. But if it happens, go ahead!

Excellent. Cheers Dani!

No worries.

‘Leviathan’ is out now on Napalm
interview by: Merlin Alderslade

Friday 5th to Sunday 7th December 2008
Pontins Holiday Village, Prestatyn Sands, North Wales, LL19 7LA, Wales MAP
on-site accommodation has SOLD OUT. £100 for weekend tickets no accommodation
last updated: Wed 26th Nov 2008


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